My friend Sue, had a very productive few hours at Lake Farm yesterday, seeing Whinchat, Wheatear, Common Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat and at least two Spotted Flycatchers. Earlier in the week Dave Morris had five Spotted Flycatchers, Black Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat, Whinchat, Common Redstart and Garden Warbler. My other friend Tony recently had a Spotted Flycatcher at nearby Cranford Park. I, on the other hand, have yet to see a Spotted Flycatcher ever !! So with hope in my heart I made my way to Lake Farm this morning, and met up with Sue and Jasper the bird-dog.
For the first half an hour, we saw hardly anything. Lots of Magpies and Woodpigeons around, a juvenile Green Woodpecker was rooting for ants, a nice flock of c40 Starlings were cloud formatting and a couple of Linnet flew over. Surprisingly there was also the odd solo butterfly around. I saw Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood.
We stopped at my favourite bench, where last spring I watched Common Whitethroats nest near by, and were chatting away, when a small lbj flew up from the scrub and perched on one of the spindly dead trees. My first Spotted Flycatcher ! It didn't stay long and flew off to the other side of the copse. With cameras at the ready, Sue, Jasper and I walked around to the other side. A small narrow path cuts through one corner of the copse, and there we found one Spotted Fly perched obligingly close to us. The light was doing us no favours though, and I've had to heavily lighten the two photos below.
Again the bird didn't stay still for long, and soon flew back to the other side where we had just come from. Again, we followed suit, and again the little lovely happily came back into view. A few times we saw a second bird, and there may have even been a third. They were feeding well, and very active. Going by the sightings from Dave and Sue, these Spot Flys have been around for at least four days now. I'm not due back at Lake Farm until Wednesday, but hopefully these gorgeous little migrants will stay a bit longer before flying back to Africa for the winter.
Else where, the new school site seems to have come to a stop. The area is fenced off, and deep channels have been cut into the ground, but no more work has been done. The House Sparrow community that occupied the corner of the plot before the destruction began, has now gone.